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Wake Up To Politics - April 30, 2022

Wake Up To Politics: New abortion battleground
Wake Up To Politics - April 30, 2022

by Gabe Fleisher

Good morning! It’s Friday, April 29, 2022. Election Day 2022 is 193 days away. Election Day 2024 is 921 days away.

Thanks for waking up to politics this week. I hope you have a great weekend, and I’ll see you back in your inboxes on Monday!

A new abortion battleground

Oklahoma lawmakers passed a bill on Thursday that would ban abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. Like the Texas law it is modeled after, the Oklahoma bill would allow private citizens to sue doctors who provide abortions after that point. The measure, SB 1503, now goes to Gov. Kevin Stitt (R-OK), who is expected to sign it.

Oklahoma will be the third state, after Texas and Idaho, to approve a six-week abortion ban (although Idaho’s has been blocked in court).

The measure is especially consequential because of Oklahoma’s geography: Oklahoma was the destination for about 45% of Texas women who sought abortions after the ban in their state passed, according to a University of Texas study.

Gov. Kevin Stitt signing SB 612 into law earlier this month. (Kevin Stitt / Twitter)

The state Senate also passed HB 4327 on Thursday, a bill that would ban abortions in the state at any point in pregnancy (with exceptions for rape, incest, or medical emergencies). That stricter measure still needs final approval from the state House before it goes to the governor.

Stitt has already signed a near-total abortion ban, SB 612 (which only includes an exception for medical emergencies) but the measure would not take effect until the summer (if it survives legal challenges). The new bills would take effect immediately.

The Oklahoma bills represent the latest challenges to Roe v. Wade, which has protected abortion rights in the U.S. since 1973. Activists on both sides are anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court’s ruling on Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, in which the court’s conservative majority could overturn Roe entirely. The decision will likely come in June.

What else you should know

Ukraine: President Biden sent Congress a $33 billion request on Thursday to increase support for Ukraine. The ask includes $20.4 billion in security and military assistance, $8.5 billion in economic assistance, and $3 billion in humanitarian assistance.

  • Biden also outlined a proposed legislative package that would give his administration authority to liquidate assets seized from Russian oligarchs, and then use the funds to aid Ukraine.
  • On the ground, Russia is making “slow and uneven” progress in its assault on eastern Ukraine as it seeks to learn from the mistakes of the war’s first phase, U.S. officials told CNN.
  • Russia also launched a missile attack against Kyiv on Thursday — while the United Nations secretary-general was visiting — which CBS News called “the boldest attack on the capital since Moscow's forces retreated weeks ago.”
UN Secretary-General António Guterres visiting Kyiv on Thursday. (United Nations)

Economy: The U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) — the total value of all goods and services produced in the country — decreased 0.4 percent in the first three months of 2022 (at an annualized rate, which assumes that the economy grows or shrinks at the same rate for the entire year).

  • That’s the first quarterly decline in GDP since early 2020, when the pandemic was just beginning. However, experts noted that the news wasn’t all bad: much of the decline came from trade and inventory decreases. Consumer spending and business investment both increased, a promising sign as the economic recovery continues.
  • Meanwhile, a key inflation metric was released this morning — and showed prices surging in March at their fastest pace since 1982, a sign that inflation continues to plague the U.S. economy. The metric was the Personal Consumption Expenditures price index, which measures costs to consumers; it is the index most closely watched by the Federal Reserve.

Today in Washington

All times Eastern.

Biden: Receives his daily intelligence briefing (10:15 am). Holds a phone call with Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (1 pm). Meets with inspectors general — the officials in each agency charged with conducting oversight — from across the government (3:15 pm).

Senate: Not in session.

House: Briefly convenes for a pro forma session (10:30 am), a quick meeting in which few members participate and no legislative business is conducted.

  • The chamber was on recess for two weeks in April, then held three days of session this week, and will now be out again for the first week of May.

Supreme Court: Meets for its weekly conference to discuss pending cases and petitions.

What else: House speaker Nancy Pelosi will hold her weekly press conference (10:45 am). White House press secretary Jen Psaki will hold her daily press briefing (2 pm). Former president Donald Trump will hold a rally in Greenwood, Nebraska (8 pm).

  • Trump is campaigning with Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster, who has been accused of groping eight women, including a Republican state senator.

Links to watch for yourself: House pro formaPelosi presserPsaki briefingTrump rally

Before I go...

This weekend is the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, an annual black-tie event in which politicians, reporters, and celebrities rub shoulders in the Washington Hilton ballroom. (No, Wake Up To Politics didn’t score an invite.)

I don’t want to focus on the celebrity of the event; instead, I wanted to highlight something else that will be happening at the dinner this year I thought was cool.

The White House Correspondents’ Association will award their first-ever lifetime career achievement award, and it’s being named after Alice Dunnigan and Ethel Payne — the first two Black women to become members of the White House press corps.

Dunnigan and Payne covered the White House in the 1940s and 50s, for the Associated Negro Press and the Chicago Defender, respectively. They will posthumously become the first two recipients of the prize; their relatives will be on hand at the dinner to accept.

Here’s a peak into history via the WHCA: An article from the Washington Evening Star in 1954, which reports on Payne questioning President Dwight Eisenhower on whether he would support legislation that banned segregation in interstate travel. Annoyed by the question, Eisenhower “replied with clipped words,” per the Star.

Dunnigan and Payne would regularly press Eisenhower on civil rights, even when no other reporters would. Eventually, he stopped calling on them entirely. This weekend, they’ll be honored by the Correspondents’ Association. Here’s the Evening Star article:

That’s it for today. If you enjoy Wake Up To Politics, it’s always appreciated if you donate to support the newsletter or buy some merch. Or if you tell your friends and family to sign up at wakeuptopolitics.com.

If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to email me: my inbox is always open.

Thanks for waking up to politics! Have a great day.

— Gabe